LATE ROUND RUCK OPTIONS
If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll know we have no problems with drafting a ruck late. We know not every coach can snare a topliner and may draft other positions first. This means missing out on Max Gawn, Brodie Grundy, etc and for newer drafters that can be something of a scary thought. But fear not! There is plenty of value to be mined in the later stages of your draft while you build depth at the other positions. Even if you’re in a two-ruck league and take a ruck early, there is possibly a gem or two to be found later in case you miss out getting a decent second. Here are some options with great potential and opportunity to help your team.
Let’s start here. They don’t go much later and have as much middling history as Kreuzer, but there’s a reason he should be on your radar as a late option. In this mixed-up-JLT series-trialling ruck combo world we’re currently in, Kreuzer is shaping as one of the few solo ruck options. This should occur for at least for the first 6 to 8 weeks of the season, due to injuries to Andrew Phillips and Daniel Gorringe. Carlton have got some key forward options, so expect one of those guys to give Kreuzer a chop out, but the minutes in the middle should belong to the former number one pick. Expect mid 80% time on ground and at least that from his average. I would be looking at other options for the longer term – maybe trading in a ruck who loses value, playing match ups or finding a backup who may take over as number one in the case of injury.
The salary cap world is going gaga for Nankervis, and with good reason. He is shaping up as Richmond’s solo ruck option, which should provide him good amounts of time on ground and thus scoring potential. Shaun Hampson has been placed on the long term injury list, and outside of Maric and Chol, neither of who should play, it’s all Nankervis. He’s shown an ability to find the ball around the ground and at the bottom of packs and has no issue laying a tackle. Again, we’re looking for the 85 average which shouldn’t be too hard to get. Simply put, he’s shaping up as a poor man’s Brodie Grundy going 15 rounds later in your draft. Bank on Nank.
Likely the number one ruck for the Suns, Witts has shown an ability to score well when given the opportunity. A hit out machine, he’s certainly a better option for SuperCoach formats than DT scoring models as his possession numbers aren’t huge but will get a bunch of hitout to advantage points in SC, ala Aaron Sandilands. He is still coming into his own as a young ruck, so there is certainly room for improvement in his fantasy output. We need to remember that Witts was preferred to Grundy by Collingwood at the start of last season, so there is obviously a stack of talent to work with. Be wary of injuries to key defenders with Gold Coast though, as Dan Currie could hurt his value if he comes into that role.
So there you go. I know you might feel queasy rolling some of these guys out in your starting line-up, but it is what it is. You build depth at the other positions or take a player with a different positional advantage and you have to scrap to make up those ruck points somehow! Just remember – more than 20 ruckmen had a top 5 finish (by position) for the 2016 season, so there is value to be had.